Canadian scholars
Engaging ideas, transforming minds
Engaging ideas, transforming minds
2016 rethinking society 4e cvr
Canadian Scholars’ Press
584 pages
6.75 x 9.75 inches
September 2016
Print ISBN: 9781551309361
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This unique collection of readings introduces students to the foundational elements of sociology. Balancing classical sociological theory and more contemporary approaches, the text builds on this theoretical grounding to consider diverse issues in sociology. Topics include major social processes and social institutions such as families, education, work, health care, and media. Later sections address social class, gender and sexualities, and ethnicity and race. This thoroughly revised fourth edition includes an updated selection of readings and a new section exploring social movements, social change, and emerging fields. With an emphasis on Canadian content, Rethinking Society in the 21st Century is the ideal reader for Canadian students of sociology.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Promise, C. Wright Mills

Chapter 2: In Defence of Sociology, Anthony Giddens

Chapter 3: What Is a Social Fact? Emile Durkheim

Chapter 4: Manifesto of the Communist Party, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

Chapter 5: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Max Weber

Chapter 6: Women’s Perspective as a Radical Critique of Sociology, Dorothy E. Smith

Chapter 7: Power/Knowledge, Michel Foucault

Chapter 8: Revisiting Gramsci, Diana Coben

Chapter 9: Racial Formation in the United States, Michael Omi and Howard Winant

Chapter 10: General Research Orientations, Alan Bryman, James Teevan, and Edward Bell

Chapter 11: Becoming an Anti-oppressive Researcher, Karen L. Potts and Leslie Brown

Chapter 12: Learning to Strip: The Socialization Experiences of Exotic Dancers, Jacqueline Lewis

Chapter 13: The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Erving Goffman

Chapter 14: Private Eyes and Public Order: Policing and Surveillance in the Suppression of Animal Rights Activists in Canada, Kevin Walby and Jeffrey Monaghan

Chapter 15: Woman Abuse in Canada: Sociological Reflections on the Past, Suggestions for the Future, Walter S. DeKeseredy and Molly Dragiewicz

Chapter 16: The Way We Weren’t: The Myth and Reality of the “Traditional” Family, Stephanie Coontz

Chapter 17: Neo-liberalism, Families, and Work-Life Balance, Kate Bezanson

Chapter 18: Beyond Normalization: An Analysis of Heteronormativity in Children’s Picture Books, Anika Stafford

Chapter 19: Just another Neoliberal Worker: Tracing the State’s Treatment of Low-Income Mothers, Margaret Hillyard Little

Chapter 20: Does Citizenship Status Matter in Canadian Agriculture? Workplace Health and Safety for Migrant and Immigrant Laborers, Kerry Preibisch and Gerardo Otero

Chapter 21: Playing it Down/Playing it Up: Girls’ Strategic Negotiations of Academic Success, Rebecca Raby and Shauna Pomerantz

Chapter 22: Keeping the Ivory Tower White: Discourses of Racial Domination, Carol Schick

Chapter 23: “Old People Are Useless”: Representations of Aging on The Simpsons, Darren Blakeborough

Chapter 24: Gender, Race, and Health Inequalities, Ann Pederson, Dennis Raphael, and Ellisa Johnson

Chapter 25: Invisible Populations: LGBTQ People and Federal Health Policy in Canada, Nick J. Mulé and Miriam Smith

Chapter 26: “You Bring Great Masculinity and Truth”: Sexuality, Whiteness, and the Regulation of the Male Body in Motion, Jade Boyd

Chapter 27: “It’s Just Drama”: Teen Perspectives on Aggressions in a Networked Era, Alice Marwick and Danah Boyd

Chapter 28: Building Their Readiness for Economic “Freedom”: The New Poor Law and Emancipation, Ann O’Connell

Chapter 29: “Too Much of That Stuff Can’t Be Good”: Canadian Teens, Morality and Fast Food Consumption, Deborah McPail, Gwen E. Chapman, and Brenda L. Beagan

Chapter 30: Class and Power: The Major Themes, John Porter

Chapter 31: Our Bodies are Not Ourselves: Tranny Guys and the Racialized Class Politics of Incoherence, Jean Bobby Noble

Chapter 32: Sexual Ethics and Young Women’s Accounts of Heterosexual Casual Sex, Melanie A. Beres and Panteá Farvid

Chapter 33: “Real Fast and Tough”: The Construction of Canadian Hockey Masculinity, Kristi A. Allain

Chapter 34: “Canadian-First”: Mixed Race Self-Identification and Canadian Belonging, Jillian Paragg

Chapter 35: African-Centred Education: Situating the Tradition, George Dei and Arlo Kempf

Chapter 36: “Born” Freaks, “Made” Freaks, and Media Circuses: Systemic Management of Race and Gender in the Reena Virk Case, Nicole Pietsch

Chapter 37: Humans and Other Animals: Sociology’s Moral and Intellectual Challenge, David Nibert

Chapter 38: Growing a Just Garden: Environmental Justice and the Development of a Community Garden Policy for Hamilton, Ontario, Erika S. Jermé and Sarah Wakefield

Chapter 39: “A Direct Act of Resurgence, a Direct Act of Sovereignty”: Reflections on Idle No More, Indigineous Activism, and Canadian Settler Colonialism, Adam J. Barker

Kate Bezanson

Kate Bezanson is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Brock University.

Rethinking Society in the 21st Century, 3rd Edition, Rethinking Society in the 21st Century, 4th Edition

Michelle Webber

Michelle Webber is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Brock University.

Rethinking Society in the 21st Century, 3rd Edition, Rethinking Society in the 21st Century, 4th Edition


“Webber and Bezanson’s collection has become standard amongst sociology instructors seeking a critical introduction to the field. The book strikes a nice balance between seminal theoretical pieces and cutting edge research that engages and challenges students to think about new things in new ways. Power inequalities figure prominently in the readings as they explore the complex intersections of class, gender, race, and sexuality.… Canadian sociology is well represented, with a number of current research pieces by scholars preeminent in the discipline. I cannot think of another collection that accomplishes what this one does.”
—  Kenneth Fish, Department of Sociology, University of Winnipeg

Rethinking Society in the 21st Century offers a diverse range of readings focusing on the theory, methods, and substance of sociology and does so from a critical perspective. Furthermore, it exposes students to both classical and contemporary works, and the readings are engaging yet challenging. The number of Canadian authors is another key strength of this text.”
—  Alison Dunwoody, Department of Sociology, University of Alberta

Instructor Resources

Rethinking Society in the 21st Century includes instructors test bank questions.

Student Resources

General Student Resource - Download